Gov. Ron DeSantis To Send More Than 1,100 Agents to Texas-Mexico Border

The Florida Republican has made a similar controversial move before.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to send more than 1,100 law enforcement officers to the Texas-Mexico border, the Republican leader announced on Tuesday.

DeSantis, who is expected to make his bid for president any day now, announced a similar move in June 2021 with roughly 100 officers. The Trump rival has taken credit for sending migrants to other locations, including Martha’s Vineyard, and has bashed President Joe Biden for his handling of the border.

“The impacts of Biden’s Border Crisis are felt by communities across the nation, and the federal government’s abdication of duty undermines the sovereignty of our country and the rule of law,” DeSantis said in an online statement on Tuesday.

“At my direction, state agencies, including law enforcement and the Florida National Guard, are being deployed to Texas, with assets including personnel, boats and planes. While Biden ignores the crisis he created, Florida stands ready to help Texas respond to this crisis,” he added.

The statement also included the numbers for who would be sent — 800 Florida National Guard soldiers, 200 Florida Department of Law enforcement officers, 101 state highway patrol troopers, 20 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agents, and 20 emergency management personnel.

DeSantis also plans to send five “fixed-wing aircraft with monitoring equipment and downlink capabilities with two aviation crew teams, two Mobile Command Vehicles and two command teams, 17 available unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and support teams, and 10 vessels ― including airboats, shallow draft vessels, and mid-range vessels.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also released a statement on Tuesday calling for governors across the country to send officers to the border: “Join us in the mission to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity and send all available law enforcement personnel and resources to the Texas-Mexico border to serve alongside our thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.”

Title 42 — the regulation that came about during the pandemic authorizing border agents to reject asylum seekers at the border to limit the spread of COVID-19 — expired on Thursday night. The impact was expected to be drastic for the already labored immigration system, with Biden acknowledging an impending “chaotic” transition. But Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN on Sunday that border crossings decreased nearly 50% since the expiration.

Decades-old Title 8 was reinstated on Friday after Title 42 expired. Title 8 would bar deported migrants from reentering the country for at least five years, facing jail time if they enter illegally, CBS reported.

“We don’t need more troops on the border; instead, we need to invest in humanitarian aid for the migrants seeking protection and the border communities most impacted,” said Edna Yang, the co-executive director of Texas-based immigration advocacy group American Gateways.

“We must find a way to reform the antiquated and underfunded asylum process,” she continued in a statement. “Militarization and dehumanization of asylum seekers must stop. We must look at why our asylum system is broken and not simply shift the blame to the individuals seeking protection under that system.”

The move follows Florida Republicansapproval of a bill that allocates $12 million towards DeSantis’ migrant transport plans earlier this month and aligns with his broader effort ramping up anti-immigration efforts.

Mexico’s president lambasted DeSantis’ actions last week.

“Why does [DeSantis] have to take advantage of people’s pain, of migrants’ pain, of people’s need for political gain,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a news conference last week, according to Politico. “This is immoral. This is politicking.”

He added: “Now I found out that the Florida governor — imagine, Florida, which is full of migrants — is taking repressive, inhumane measures against migrants in Florida because he wants to be a [presidential] candidate. Can’t he not make another proposal to convince people?”

In the states, Democrats have condemned DeSantis’ attack on immigrants.

“The recent policies implemented by the Republican-led Florida Legislature demonstrate Governor DeSantis’ preference for fear-mongering, promoting racial profiling, and damaging Florida’s economy, rather than supporting the state’s Hispanic population in their time of need,” said Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Vice Chair Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) in a joint statement, The Hill reported.

“Faith leaders, civil rights groups, chambers of commerce, and others have come out against these draconian measures because they will slow economic growth, reduce our workforce, hurt small businesses, drive up inflation, and deeply damage our international tourism,” they added.

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